Dream hangovers

Dreams area funny things, aren’t they?

Like films that you can’t quite remember the plot for in the aftermath, but you felt every emotion in real time, despite them flashing by in just seconds. Little brain farts, a twitch in your frontal cortex which processes your day, your feelings, your fears, and holds them all up to you like an identity parade for your own neurosis…

Why is it that the good dreams simply fade away, disappearing back into your sleeping body, and you wake without really feeling them – but the bad dreams linger?

The stupid thing about it is that, despite knowing it’s just a dream, and it isn’t real, a dream – a nightmare – can make you experience all kinds of emotions, and even though you’re responding to something in a dream, the emotions are still real – so when you wake after nightmares, you’re still left with all those tumbling feelings, spinning through your head.

woman sleeping

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I’ve always lived with nightmares – I’ve had enough bad experiences in my life that, often, they are more memories and flashbacks than dreams – and even at times where my life is lovely, and things are going well, where my real day to day stresses are pretty insignificant and I’m aware that I’m very lucky – the nightmares can sneak up on me.

I get them a lot when I have my period – another perk of hormonal imbalances I guess – and because I have endometriosis I have my period A LOT OF THE TIME (24th this year I think?) and I’m also full of cold at the moment, so not sleeping well – and not sleeping well = bad dreams. Bad dreams = dreading sleep, = not sleeping well = more bad dreams.

And those bad dreams leave me with a weird kind of hangover, a feeling that I’m not quite sure this world is real, that I’m real, and feelings of hurt, anger, fear, left with me from whatever has happened in the dream.

abandoned ancient antique arch

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There’s one in particular, a recurring nightmare, one I’ve had with very few changes since I was a child – there’s a man in the dream who is someone from my real life, but bigger, more frightening, darker, and the dream hangovers mean I sometimes feel like I catch a glimpse of him just in the corner of my vision, the corner of the room, waiting for me. He’s a malevolent cloud which follows me into waking and never quite washes away again, hanging around for days, making me feel fractious and anxious.

I know dreams aren’t real – but dream hangovers very much are.